Archive for Cheese

Blueberry Goat Cheese Crostini

Feels a bit weird to be writing a party recipe when there are no parties this year.

Party of one? or two? Virtual parties? Next year?

Maybe there’s something to be said for celebrating the little things this year. Like I have this bottle of wine I’ve been saving forever for “a special occasion.” Maybe a special occasion can be Tuesday. I mean, our expectations are much, much lower this year. Just surviving a random Tuesday should be cause to celebrate, no?

Blueberry Goat Cheese Crostini

Also, this recipe is super simple to make. So that makes getting to the celebrating part that much easier and faster, and I’m here for it.

Part of the reason I love this recipe is because it uses local ingredients and ones that are easy to find any time of the year. I elected to use frozen blueberries here, because even when they’re not in season, the frozen ones are still really good. I don’t know about you, but I’m cooking way more from freezer and pantry since the pandemic; buying more stuff in bulk so I don’t need to go to the grocery store as often.

You might think of blueberries as a sweet food, and you wouldn’t be wrong. I certainly put them in my smoothie every day (again, frozen, because they last a long time and are super healthy). But blueberries can also be savoury, as I have used them here.

Crostini is just fancy toast. Here, I’ve topped it with some local goat cheese (my faves are Milner Valley in Langley and the Farm House in Harrison) and a savoury local BC Blueberry compote.

Maybe it sounds weird? But it is really, really delicious. You have the good crusty bread, and then the tangy, creamy goat cheese, and the sweet-sour of the blueberry compote. You might not be able to serve it at a party, but you can serve it to your mouth (where it can party). Oh boy, that was bad. Sorry, not sorry?

Blueberry Compote with Chevre

Blueberry Goat Cheese Crostini

For the compote:

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegear
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp grainy mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the crostini

  • 1 baguette
  • chevre
  • additional rosemary for garnish

Method:

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, place about 1/2-1 tsp oil. Add the onions and sauté for about 5-10 minutes, until translucent, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the blueberries, stir well, and allow to cook down for about another 5 minutes or so. Add the balsamic vinegar, rosemary and the sugar, and stir.
  3. Add the spices and continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the mixture thickens. Set aside.
  4. Slice the baguette and drizzle each slice with a little olive oil. Toast either in the oven/toaster oven or in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Place the toasts on the plate, and schmear each one with a dollop of chevre. Dollop a teaspoon of the blueberry compote on top and garnish with a little sprig of rosemary to serve.

 

Plum Tartine

Exactly this time three years ago, I was in London, and by coincidence, my friend Shae from Vancouver was flying into London from Portugal that day. We met up at restaurant near Victoria Station so I could quickly jump on my train back to Brighton where I was staying.

That night, I ordered a Tartine.

Tartine

My London Tartine: base of beet hummus with sauteed veg and finished with boccinci

Had I ever had a Tartine before? I don’t know. Maybe. Or I had, but I didn’t know that’s what it was called.

A tartine is, simply put, an open-faced sandwich (can it even be a sandwich if it’s not two pieces of bread??!?). They’re pretty popular in Euorope, especially France, which is where they come from, and tend to be eaten with a fork and knife.

The basis of any good tartine is to use really good bread, and then you pile on a bunch of stuff that has a mix of textures and flavours. Many come with an egg for added protein.

I recently went to the farmer’s market and came home with peak summer produce; fresh, locally-grown corn, and Okanagan peaches, plums and apples. I looked at those beautiful, purple, juicy, fat plums and knew exactly what I was going to do with them: tartine.

This is one of those posts that’s less recipe, and more template.

Here’s how to build the perfect tartine: 

  • As I already said, you need good bread. Here, I used my own homemade sourdough, but if you’re not a quarantine baker and you live in Vancouver, I’d recommend Livia or Flourist for a good, sturdy loaf of crusty artisan bread. Also, you’re going to want to toast it. This gives it even more sturdiness, and it also adds to the texture of the dish. Feel free to drizzle it with a little olive oil and toast it in a pan, even, for some sexy grill marks. You could also do this on the BBQ.
  • Your base layer should be something that will anchor the rest of the ingredients that are going on top. I like to use cream cheese, a savoury herbed one if possible, a goat’s cheese (again herbed would be pretty bomb here), or ricotta. If you’re vegan, hummus or mashed avocado is a great base for your tartine. You’ll want to spread a nice, thick layer.
  • Next up, the main players: in this case, it’s thinly-sliced plums, but you could use almost any fruit or vegetable here. Thinly-sliced zucchini or cucumbers, dressed with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper would be amazing. Sautéed mushrooms with garlic? Oh yeah. Fresh, vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes? Orgasmic.
  • Now you want to think about sauces and dressings. My automatic go-to is balsamic reduction and a drizzle of good olive oil.
  • Garnish: a bit of peppery arugula tossed in a bit of olive oil would make a lovely topping. You could also go with microgreens, herbs, or edible flowers on top. Another potential garnish would be something to give your tartine an extra textural element, like seeds or nuts, something crispy.

That’s it! Let your taste buds be your guide, and play around with this great summer meal that has about a million different variations! I also need to add that this is the perfect dish to cook right now because it requires very little actual cooking, and let’s face it, it’s too hot to turn the oven or stove on.

Plum Tartine

Plum Tartine

Here’s my Plum Tartine:

  1. Thick slice of sourdough bread, toasted
  2. Layer of herbed cream cheese
  3. Layer of thinly-sliced plums
  4. Balsamic, olive oil, flaky salt
  5. Thyme leaves and blossoms

The ultimate tartine is all about the play of textures and flavours. Here, the creamy, slightly acidic cheese plays off of the sweet, juicy fruit. Then you have the crisp of the toasted bread and the sweet/acid of the balsamic reduction. It’s the perfect summer bite!

PS. If you want to try tartine in Vancouver, I recommend Ubuntu Canteen.

 

 

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